Daily Life

Body shaming: Cassi Van Den Dungen defends Jodi Anasta, Myer renews her contract

Model Cassi Van Den Dungen has come out fighting after criticism of her colleague Jodi Anasta's slender frame, writes Amy Croffey.

It's a topic as old as time that rears its head throughout the year and intensifies during the twice-yearly fashion weeks with criticism this time aimed directly at Myer ambassador Jodi Anasta (nee Gordon).

The former Home and Away actress and model has been criticised for her weight over recent months during which time she has split with husband of three years, retired Roosters star Braith Anasta. Disapproval has peaked for the 31-year-old's physique ahead of the Myer Autumn 2016 Fashion Launch on Thursday in Sydney that Anasta is scheduled to attend alongside face of the department store Jennifer Hawkins, fellow ambassador Rachael Finch and guest Shanina Shaik​.

A piece in the The Daily Telegraph on Wednesday wrote about Jodi Anasta's "skeletal frame" and referred to an unnamed source as saying she was "urgently encouraged [by Myer] to start eating". However, Myer rebuffed such claims by revealing to Fairfax Media that they have re-newed her contract for another 12 months.

"It's important for us to have healthy brand ambassadors and models to showcase our range of fashion. We are comfortable with our current group of ambassadors," a Myer spokesperson added.

Anasta's manager, Sean Anderson, also contradicted the reports and said they "haven't received any communication from Myer regarding Jodi's weight."

"Jodi is aware that her weight is of interest to the media and appreciates the concern. She is doing her very best as a single working mum," he added.

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No stranger to criticism over her weight, Cassi Van Den Dungen, former Australia's Next Top Model runner-up, who has walked for Miu Miu, Calvin Klein and Ellery, defended Anasta, saying: "Body shaming is wrong in any form."

After walking for Alex Perry in April 2014, the designer appeared on television to label choosing Van Den Dungen as a "serious lapse of judgment".

"I look at the images and recoil from it," Perry told Nine's Today at the time. "It's not an image I think is a good one to put forward, certainly not one I've presented my brand about. I don't like it."

Van Den Dungen hit back, likening the criticism, not just from Perry but from all, to "bullying" – a stance the 23-year-old firmly stands by today.

"My comments on Jodi are: 'Leave her alone,'" she started out. "Just because you can see a few rib bones does not make her unhealthy. Go talk to a doctor about it, I have and I was told it's 'perfectly normal'.

"When people use the words 'gaunt', 'skeletal', etc. it hurts. It's worse than calling someone 'fat'. In comparison, it's more like calling a big person 'a blimp' or 'whale'.

"We have so much pressure in our lives to be perfect, to be honest no one is, we should be celebrating all sizes, big and small. Some women look at Tess Holliday​ [plus-size model who wears a size 22] as an inspiration, some people look at people like Jodi.

"The only opinion that should matter on your weight or size is your own. If you're happy, feel healthy and loving life, stuff everyone else's opinions," Van Den Dungen added.

Anasta appeared on Channel 7's The Morning Show on Thursday to address the controversy ahead of the AW16 show.

"Women have to own their own bodies and you do everything you can to stay healthy and happy and that's all you can do," she said.

"As girls I just say we all stick together, we all support one another, and we all be happy and healthy and do the best we can for our bodies that's all we can do."

 

This sums up the start of 2016.... Sunshine, Happiness and amazing friends. #Life ☀️💦

A photo posted by Jodi Anasta (@jodigordon) on

 

Excited about @myer show Thursday night!!💃🏻💋

A photo posted by Jodi Anasta (@jodigordon) on

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